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Academic groups ask Kyoto Univ. to rethink plan to restructure primate research institute

Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute is seen in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, on Oct. 15, 2021. (Mainichi/Shinichiro Kawase)

INUYAMA, Aichi -- The academic community has successively requested Kyoto University to reconsider a plan to reorganize its Primate Research Institute, the world's leading research hub for non-human primate studies.

    Kyoto University has announced plans to restructure the Primate Research Institute based in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, of central Japan, and reorganize it into the Human Behavioral Evolution Research Center (tentative name) in April 2022. The university has stated it intends to abolish and consolidate 10 research fields under the Primate Research Institute. The move came after murky spending of research funds for primate studies had surfaced.

    In response to this, academic institutions have submitted letters addressed to Kyoto University President Nagahiro Minato to reconsider the plan.

    The Primate Society of Japan based in Tokyo submitted a letter dated Oct. 27 in which it stated, "We dread that the disappearance of a global research base is an irreversible, massive loss for scientific research of our country as a whole." Regarding the reorganization plan, it pointed out, "There is the possibility that Kyoto University will not be able to continue its unparalleled research, which has been built through the university's persistent efforts, and that it will not be able to maintain its central role in academic research where various academic fields interact." The academic society insisted that it believes the reorganization will "lead to a fall in research standards for primate studies as well as related fields."

    The Anthropological Society of Nippon, also based in Tokyo, submitted a letter of request dated the same day under the name of 233 members. It read, "We ask again that the precious academic foundation will not be lost."

    (Japanese original by Shinichiro Kawase, Nagoya News Center)

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